Manchester City 3-1 Liverpool: Jovetic brace guides City to win

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Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium strength was back after the Citizens avenged last season’s loss to Liverpool with deadly finishing in a 3-1 win on Monday afternoon.

Stevan Jovetic scored a brace for City, both goals owing plenty to French midfielder Samir Nasri. Sergio Aguero added a goal of his own for the victors.

Rickie Lambert forced Pablo Zabaleta into an own goal late on what would’ve been the Reds forward’s first goal for his boyhood club.

With the win, City is tied for the league lead in points, but dips behind Tottenham on goal differential.

Liverpool stays mid table, their goal difference sinking to minus-1.

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The first shot of the game didn’t come until the clock turned to 7:00, with Edin Dzeko turning a mediocre low shot wide.

There were some solid moments from both defenses, with Vincent Kompany blocking a hard Daniel Sturridge shot at one end and Martin Skrtel sliding to break up a dangerous pass intended for Dzeko from Yaya Toure.

Jovetic, 24, struck before halftime, taking advantage of a less than perfect clearance from Dejan Lovren and a missed mark of Alberto Moreno. His shot clipped Simon Mignolet’s leg on the way into the goal for a 1-0 lead.

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The Montenegrin striker struck again in the 55th minute, flicking a ball forward before collecting a cutback from Nasri and blasting a left-footed shot past Mignolet. It was 2-0 and City looked good.

How big of a team play was the tally? Check in, @OptaJoe:

source: Getty ImagesLiverpool boss Brendan Rodgers brought on Lazar Markovic for Philippe Coutinho in the 60th minute in the hopes of shaking things up.

Substitute Jesus Navas sent a gorgeous pass around the Liverpool defense that Aguero rapped home in the 69th minute, just moments after subbing into the game himself. The rout was absolutely on.

But, wait: Lambert moved past a great first save from Joe Hart to pressure Zabaleta into an own goal in the 84th minute and nearly made it 3-2 on the next Reds’ possession.

It turned out to be a momentary lapse, credit to Arlo White for the adjective/noun combo, as City picked up all three points.

Rodgers’ side faced a load of injuries late in a classic “when it rains it pours” scenario, as Moreno hit the turf late while hurting his ankle without any contact from anything but the ground. Glen Johnson had already left the pitch to make it 10 men, while Skrtel played through an injury.

Lineups

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Kompany, Clichy, Fernando, Nasri, Toure, Silva (Navas, 65′), Jovetic (Fernandinho, 80′), Dzeko (Aguero, 69′)

Goals: Jovetic 2 (42, 55), Aguero (69)

Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson, Lovren, Skrtel, Moreno, Gerrard, Coutinho (Markovic, 60′), Henderson, Allen (Can, 75′), Sterling (Lambert, 79′), Sturridge

Goal: Zabaleta (OG, 84)

Croatia smashes disheveled Argentina

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Ante Rebic, Luka Modric, and Ivan Rakitic have Croatia in the knockout rounds and Argentina on the verge of World Cup disaster.

Croatia scored a pair of second half goals, one aided by a Willy Caballero howler, in a 2-0 win in Nizhny Novgorod on Thursday.

Argentina will enter its final match against Nigeria on the outskirts of the knockout rounds regardless of how Nigeria-Iceland ends on Friday.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Ivan Perisic forced a big save out of Wily Caballero for an early Croatia corner kick that came to nothing.

Messi had a chance stopped inside of 10 minutes, then started a play that Dejan Lovren blocked for a corner in the 13th.

Enzo Perez missed an open goal off a poor Croatia giveaway in the 30th minute.

There were a pair of fouls not out of place on a red card lowlight reel, one for each team, but neither resulting in a sending off.

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Croatia took the lead through Caballero’s gaffe and Rebic’s smash in the 54th.

Argentina nearly answered moments later. After a mazy Messi dribble, Argentina regained possession in the 64th minute, spearheaded by a Gonzalo Higuain run that led to a corner.

Croatia came close to making it 2-0, as Mario Mandzukic couldn’t turn a flick on frame and instead saw it glide into the outside of the goal.

Then Modric put the match to bed as the clock hit 80, an absolute beauty. Another huge defensive mistake allowed Mateo Kovacic to cue up Rakitic for the third.

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WATCH: Caballero blunder punished as Rebic rip puts Argentina on ropes

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Willy Caballero has made one of the bigger blunders in recent World Cup history.

His Argentina side needs at least a point from Thursday’s match-up with Croatia, and the match remained scoreless into halftime.

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But 10 minutes after the break, Caballero flubbed a clearance in a big way.

The Argentina goalkeeper then could only watch as Ante Rebic kept his composure to blast a side volley into the goal.

It was a fine finish, to be sure, but not possible without such a terrible gaffe.

Transfer rumor roundup: Chelsea in for Pjanic; Lozano to Juventus?

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Pro Soccer Talk examines some of Thursday’s top transfer stories, including a Premier League giant looking to add to its midfield.

[ MORE: Uruguay reaches Round of 16 courtesy of Luis Suarez ]


Chelsea could be set to join Barcelona in the race for Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic, according to the Daily Mail.

The Blues and new manager Maurizio Sarri are said to be open to looking to Serie A to solve some of the team’s troubled areas, including in the center of the park to join France international N'Golo Kante.

Sarri is already said to be keen on signing Napoli star Dries Mertens, whom he has coached for several years at the Stadio San Paolo


Meanwhile, Juve has interest in a World Cup star, with Mexico’s Hirving Lozano attracting significant looks from around the world.

Lozano scored for El Tri in their 1-0 victory over Germany to open their 2018 World Cup campaign, and has become an instant star in the Dutch Eredivisie with PSV Eindhoven.

PSV would reportedly be willing to complete a deal if the Serie A champions shell out over $40 million.


Sticking with Juve, Emre Can‘s move to the Turin side appears to be close to finalization.

Can is set to have a medical in Italy on Thursday, as the 24-year-old anticipates completing a five-year contract with the Serie A giants.


Finally, West Ham United is looking to add to its attacking options next season, and the club could be nearing a record move.

Lazio winger Felipe Anderson is reportedly set to come to the London Stadium in 2018/19 as the Hammers prepare a $46 million deal.

Anderson tallied four goals in 21 Serie A matches last season for the Biancocelesti.

RB Leipzig names Julian Nagelsmann future manager

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Julian Nagelsmann won’t take over at his new club until the 2019/20 season, but Red Bull Leipzig has put a lot of confidence in one of the youngest managers in global football.

[ MORE: Ronaldo’s tally gives Portugal win over Morocco ]

On Thursday, the Bundesliga side announced the appointment of the Hoffenheim coach, who will continue in his current capacity for the upcoming 2018/19 German campaign.

Nagelsmann signs on with Leipzig until the conclusion of the 2022/23 season.

The 30-year-old has spent two seasons managing Hoffenheim, guiding the club to back-to-back top-four finishes in the Bundesliga.

Leipzig is currently without a manager ahead of the next season, so it remains unclear who will take over until Nagelsmann assumes his role in 2019.